PROFILE-Japanese Finance Minister Koriki Jojima
Position: Japan Finance Minister
Incumbent: Koriki Jojima Date of Birth: January 1, 1947
Term: Was appointed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in a cabinet reshuffle on Oct. 1 2012. Serves at the will of the prime minister or until general elections that must be held by August 2013.
-- A former head of a labour union at Japanese food seasonings maker Ajinomoto Co, Jojima was first elected to parliament's lower house in 1996 as a member of the now defunct New Frontier Party, led by veteran politician Ichiro Ozawa. He graduated from the department of agriculture at the prestigious University of Tokyo.
-- Since the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) ousted the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party in a 2009 general election, Jojima has held important party posts including deputy policy affairs chief, deputy secretary-general and parliamentary affairs chief. Until his October 2012 appointment, he had never held a ministerial post.
-- Jojima, who was instrumental in securing a political deal on Noda's plan to double the sales tax to 10 percent by October 2015, has followed the prime minister's line on the need for fiscal reform to fix Japan's finances, with public debt running at roughly twice the size of the country's annual economic output. In an interview with Reuters in April, Jojima voiced concern that were the the sales tax plan to fail, it could lead to a downgrade of Japan's sovereign debt ratings, and prompt a spike in bond yields.
-- Like his predecessor Jun Azumi, Jojima has no noteworthy experience in fiscal policy, financial diplomacy or overseeing currency markets. He has echoed the finance ministry's official line, saying that he stands ready to act decisively versus excessive yen gains, fearing that the stubbornly strong yen could hurt Japan's export-reliant economy.
-- Jojima has voiced caution over the idea of allowing the central bank to buy foreign bonds to help weaken the yen, partly because currency intervention is the prerogative of the finance ministry. He has also said the government and the Bank of Japan share a common goal of ending deflation, and he expects the BOJ to take bold monetary steps when needed.
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Daniel Magnowski and David Cutler)
Keywords: JAPAN FINMIN/